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The Enemy Among Us: POW's in Missouri during World War II Hardcover – December 15, 2010

4.7 out of 5 stars 13 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"A POW study about Missouri is long overdue."—Dr. Arnold Krammer, author of Nazi Prisoners of War in America

Book Description

Normal 0 false false false EN-US X-NONE X-NONE During World War II, more than fifteen thousand German and Italian soldiers came to Missouri. This fascinating tale recounts the creation of the camps and the lives touched when fate brought Missourians and the enemy face-to-face.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 480 pages
  • Publisher: D W Fiedler LLC (December 15, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 098302250X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0983022503
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.1 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,172,694 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
History books generally get a bad rap because so many end up dry in the details, dry in the telling. Thankfully, the Enemy Among Us avoids this trap, and with an emphasis on telling the story in the words of the people who were there, David Fiedler offers a delightful account of when 15,000 German and Italian POWs came to Missouri in WWII.
The Enemy Among Us is richly spiced with first-person accounts from many perspectives of the POW camps, from prisoner and guard, camp worker and ordinary citizen, and beyond. Accounts of friendship, escape, mischief and romance keep it lively, and Fiedler's eye for detail and human interest make his narrative sparkle.
The Enemy Among Us offers first an overview of the POW program, and then works its way geographically through the Missouri camps. The four big camps (Clark, Crowder, Leonard Wood and Weingarten) each merit their own chapter, and subsequent chapters examine the smaller branch camps as they were clustered in the Kansas City and St. Louis areas, in the Missouri Bootheel, in central Missouri, and other parts of the state. Fiedler closes his book with a chapter that details the POWs' return to Europe, their experience after the war, and in some cases, their return to the U.S. as visitors or immigrants. Over a hundred photographs put faces on the people involved and provide a nice accompaniment to the text.
Because of its easy-reading examination of a fascinating, yet little-known subject, The Enemy Among Us will appeal to just about anyone, whether WWII history buff or someone simply interested to hear about the time when 30 POW camps dotted the Missouri landscape, and German- and Italian-speaking soldiers worked in the fields.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
David Winston Fiedler provides a noteworthy read with this study of Prisoners of War held in captivity throughout Missouri. He exposed the shortcomings and successes that the America's POW program achieved. Obviously a student of Dr. Krammer's work "Nazi Prisoners of War in America", Mr. Fiedler delves into details and places that Krammer didn't have time to cover concerning particular states - in this case, Missouri. The author uses numerous primary source documents to recollect the treatment of many prisoners. It is particularly fascinating that many former German Nazi's were treated with better regard in certain areas of the state than were American black soldiers who had fought for their country. In that, the Germans were allowed to frequent "white only" establishments that blacks were restricted from entering, a peculiar and disheartening dichotomy to say the least. Certainly some regions in Missouri were quicker than others to accept these POW's as would be understandable. The very kind treatment and acceptance that many of these men, particularly Germans soldiers in German communities in Missouri witnessed, seems to have served to promote a positive image of the victorious America.

There are photos expressively dispersed in the book, which help to bring lucidity to the overall picture. The fact that so many prisoners were in America will shock the non-historian, as well as the casual reader. It will be equally surprising for most to read the elaborate measures taken to accomodate these POW's. How they retained their culture and discipline is also very interesting, especially the Germans. Although, to Germans this"Gehorsamkeit" or obedience to authority is not shocking, it is fascinating nonetheless.
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By A Customer on May 28, 2004
Format: Hardcover
Growing up in Missouri, I never knew about Enemy POW's being here during WWII. This book really does a fine job of painting a picture of life for both the POW's and the Missourians that worked with and befriended them.
The photographs are excellent and Fiedler does a wonderful job of sharing a fascinating story!
Especially in light of the current news about POW's, this book is very timely and interesting.
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Format: Hardcover
"The Enemy Among Us" is a history of life in the World War II POW camps in Missouri. Author David Fiedler introduces the reader to the POW experience from the perspectives of the prisoners, the host communities, the Missourians who worked with them and the troops who guarded then.

This book confirmed some things that I had heard and raised several aspects of the program of which I had never thought. Fiedler organizes the book by camp with sections concerning the aspects of each. He relates the nationality and attitudes of the prisoners at each camp along with their work, recreation, worship and their relations with the surrounding civilians. The camps were spread across the state including rural areas, in which the prisoners were sought as farm laborers, to the outskirts of St. Louis and Kansas City, where work was often in nurseries or construction projects. It seems that clerics, prominently among them St. Louis Msgr. John Cody, who would later serve as Archbishops of New Orleans and Chicago, made diligent efforts to ensure that religious services would be available to the POWs. I found the prisoners' wish lists for musical instruments to be surprising, but consistent with that of the British POWs who "jammed" with Thomas Jefferson at Monticello.

The political rivalries that the prisoners brought to the camps created challenges for the guards and ring true to stories that I have heard. My uncle, who was a guard of Italian POWs at a camp in Texas, once told me that they had to keep the King's men and Mussolini's troops. The need to separate the King's loyalists from militant Fascists came up at least twice in this book. It also brings up the methods, sometimes fatal, by which strident Nazis enforced discipline among the German troops.
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